To all of you who are munching on plants, staying far away from animal products, and being the butt of jokes by meat-eating pals: rest assured, you’re helping the planet (and yourself) to be healthier and better! Congratulations, fellow plant-based dieters.

Another study has confirmed that plant-based diets are a win-win for humans and the Earth. According to new research from Loma Linda University Health, consuming a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving longevity. The study focused on the dietary patterns of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, and non-vegetarians to quantify and compare greenhouse gas emissions, as well as assess total mortality.

Vegetarians may live longer than our meat-eating friends. The study found that the mortality rate for non-vegetarians was almost 20 percent higher than that for vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. Plus, switching from non-vegetarian diets to vegetarian diets or even semi-vegetarian diets also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So, if you eat meat, consider cutting back, even if it’s just for Meatless Monday, to do your part to better preserve our home. Did you know that as much as a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions comes from food production? You may not feel very important when you’re eating delicious jackfruit in place of a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, but you are indeed doing a fantastic, Earth-saving thing!

“If those eating more than 100 grams of meat a day – a fairly small rump steak – went vegan, their food-related carbon footprint would shrink by 60 per cent, saving the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year,” wrote Michael Slezak for New Scientist. “Perhaps more realistically, if someone eating more than 100 grams of meat a day simply cut down to less than 50 grams a day, their food-related emissions would fall by a third.”

That’s a big impact!

Lead image source: Can Small ‘Humane’ Farms Replace Factory Farming or Are They a Meat-Lover’s Pipe-Dream?